Conflict of Interest/Competing Interest
The Asian Journal of Biological Sciences is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards in scientific publishing. As part of this commitment, we require all authors, reviewers, and editors to disclose any conflicts of interest (COI) or competing interests (CI) that may influence their work. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Asian Journal of Biological Sciences maintains the integrity and objectivity of the research we publish.
Definition of Conflict of Interest and Competing Interest
A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization has financial, personal, or professional interests that may influence their research or decision-making process. A competing interest (CI) is a similar situation where an individual or organization has a conflicting interest, even if there is no financial or professional relationship involved.
According to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), a conflict of interest arises when an individual's professional judgment regarding a primary interest, such as the welfare of patients or the validity of research, may be influenced by a secondary interest, such as financial gain. It is worth noting that perceived conflicts of interest are considered equally important as actual conflicts of interest.
The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) states that conflicts of interest occur when authors, reviewers, or editors have interests that are not entirely transparent and may impact their decisions on what to publish. If these interests are not disclosed and are only revealed later, they may lead a reasonable reader to feel misled or deceived.
The situation of COI or CI that authors, reviewers, and editors may need to disclose include:
- Financial relationships, such as employment, consulting, honoraria, stock ownership, or patents
- Personal relationships, such as close family or friend relationships, romantic relationships, or rivalries
- Professional relationships, such as previous or current collaborations, mentor-mentee relationships, or academic or editorial positions
Policy for Authors
Authors submitting manuscripts to the Asian Journal of Biological Sciences are required to disclose any COI or CI that may influence their work. Authors should include a statement in their manuscript stating whether or not they have any COI or CI to disclose.
If authors have a COI or CI, they should include a detailed explanation of the relationship and how it may influence their research. The editors will evaluate the COI or CI disclosures and consider them during the review process.
When submitting their work, authors must disclose any financial or personal interests that could potentially impact the evaluation and publication of their content. If there are no such interests, authors should declare, "The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests."
However, if a conflict of interest does exist, authors are required to take specific actions.
- Authors must acknowledge all forms of financial support received in connection with their contributions.
- Authors are required to disclose any commercial or financial involvements that may create a perceived conflict of interest related to their contributions. They should discuss with the Editor where this information should be disclosed in the journal.
- Authors must specify that they have not entered into any agreements with sponsors of the research reported in their contributions that would restrict the publication of both positive and negative results or require prior approval from the sponsor to publish the research.
Policy for Reviewers
Reviewers for the Asian Journal of Biological Sciences are required to disclose any COI or CI that may influence their review of a manuscript. If a reviewer has a COI or CI, they should decline the review or provide a detailed explanation of the relationship and how it may influence their review.
Common conflicts of interest from a reviewer's perspective include:
- A history of disagreement with the author(s)
- Involvement in the same research project
- Recent co-authorship in publications
- Participation in the pre-review process prior to manuscript submission
In case of uncertainty about potential bias, reviewers may seek guidance from the editorial staff. Furthermore, reviewers are strictly prohibited from using any part of the manuscript, including the concept and methodology, before its publication. These measures are in place to ensure that the review process is fair, impartial and maintains its integrity.
Policy for Editors
Editors for the Asian Journal of Biological Sciences are required to disclose any COI or CI that may influence their handling of a manuscript. If an editor has a COI or CI, they should recuse themselves from the editorial process and ask another editor to handle the manuscript.
If a reviewer or editor becomes aware of a COI or CI during the review or editorial process, they should immediately notify the Editor-in-Chief, who will evaluate the situation and take appropriate action.
The Asian Journal of Biological Sciences takes COI and CI very seriously and expects all individuals involved in the publication process to disclose any relevant relationships. The editors and editorial board will evaluate the disclosures and take appropriate action to ensure the integrity and objectivity of the research we publish.